|Composer David Ashley White
Catalog no. 125-028
Price $15 (U.S.)
Foreword by Raymond Glover
I met David Ashley White, a young, gifted composer and resident of Houston, Texas, in the early 1980s. At the time the Standing Commission for the Revision of the Episcopal Hymnal was busy seeking tunes for possible inclusion in the The Hymnal 1982. I was immediately taken by David's skills as a sensitive composer of integrity, matched by his delightful personality. Only one of his tunes, PALMER CHURCH, was chosen at the time. But in 1997 three others were selected for inclusion in Wonder, Love and Praise, the first supplement to The Hymnal 1982.
David’s newer settings continue to profoundly support and amplify the meaning of the texts with which they are matched and are eminently suited for congregational singing. Therefore, they are being accepted more and more for inclusion in denominational hymnals and hymnal supplements.
Several tunes in this new collection, set to texts already associated with beloved tunes, offer an expanded, fresh, and exciting vision of their meaning. Congregations wedded to the "old and familiar" may reject these settings at first, but because of David's skills as a composer, their repeated use will assure their acceptance. Further, I feel sure these tunes, as well as others in the collection, will prove to be suitable for editors and hymnal committees seeking tunes for the new hymnals and supplements they are creating.
In addition, David’s "Introduction" and "Background on Tune Names," which are included in this new collection, will expand the user's understanding of the book's content. Because of these tunes' fresh and varied styles of composition (some using handbells or including descants), I also do not hesitate to recommend them to church musicians as a valuable resource as anthems.
Finally, one must applaud and say "thank you" to the publisher for his vision in offering this rich resource of hymn texts with tunes by David Ashley White!
Raymond F. Glover
Editor, The Hymnal 1982; The Hymnal 1982 Companion
A brilliant collection of 28 hymns from the pen of David Ashley White, using texts from the 7th century up to today.
Composing hymns has long been a passion of mine, going back to 1981. At the urging of Meg Flowers, musician at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, Houston, and with a stack of approved hymn texts for The Hymnal 1982 in hand, I set out to work. Most, if not all, of those settings eventually found a home in my first collection, Sing, My Soul (1996). Subsequently, two more books appeared--Songs for a New Creation (2002) and New Harmony: A Harp of Thousand Strings (2006), all published by Selah. The latter was a fruitful collaboration with the poet Richard Leach and reflected our being influenced and inspired, in various ways, by 19th-century Southern hymns, such as those from The Sacred Harp.
I'll Sing and Joyful Be, with few exceptions, comprises works composed since 2007. A number were commissions from churches or individuals. Some were composed to honor friends or for other special purposes. The remainder came late (December 2013--January 2014), simply to fill in the missing pieces in this collection, adding necessary variety or texture.
As was the case in my first two collections, I wanted this book to include a variety of texts, both old and new. I am especially pleased that three of my favorite writers (and also good friends)--Richard Leach, Rae Whitney, and Carl P. Daw, Jr.--are all represented in these pages.
Because I was fortunate to have had wonderful English teachers in public schools in my native South Texas, I have always been drawn to poetry. Thus, in addition to hymns and other liturgical music, secular songs and choral music have always been a prime interest for me. In the case of hymn texts, while their meaning--or message--must be sound, I also search for what I consider a use of beautiful language, or better, that which is poetic. Fine examples are found in the two texts used with the new tune Helen: Rae Whitney's "Eternity touched hands with time," for which my tune was composed, and a subsequent pairing with the brief 18th-century stanza, "When Jesus wept," for which Richard Leach wrote a second stanza, an effective reflection.
I'll Sing and Joyful Be would not have been possible without the support from those closely involved with the project, namely my publisher at Selah, David P. Schaap, and Richard Leach, who compiled the index for this book. Thanks also go to Ray Glover for his Foreword.
David Ashley White
27 January 2014